Hand sanitizers are alcohol-based products, such as gels, used to disinfect hands.
They can be used instead of soap and water when you cannot wash your hands, and
no rinsing is needed.
Hand sanitizers do not remove surface dirt from the hands. But they
do kill most germs (bacteria) that could spread disease. The product should have 60%
to 95% alcohol (ethanol or isopropanol) in it to work best. A dime-sized amount
of sanitizer should be poured on the hands and rubbed over all surfaces until
Hand sanitizers are quick and easy to use and cause less skin
irritation than soap and water. They help prevent germs from spreading in
places such as households, schools, hospitals, child care centers, and animal
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.